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Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: September 18, 2015
Metal Allegiance is quite a metal super group. It was the idea of Mark Menghi to make the ultimate metal album with the best that metal has to offer. Consisting of core members Alex Skolnick (Testament/Alex Skolnick Trio), David Ellefson (Megadeth), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater/Winery Dogs), and Mark Menghi (Gutter Poet). Along with them some of the biggest names in metal came together to make an album that all generations of metal fans can enjoy. The guest stars include Charlie Benante (Anthrax), Mark Osegueda (Death Angel), Doug Pinnick (Kings X), Phil Demmel (Machinehead), Christina Scabbia (Laguna Coil), Chuck Billy (Testament),D. Randall Blythe (Lamb of God), Rex Brown and Philip H. Anselmo (Pantera/Down) and many more. To say that they achieved what they set out to do is a gross understatement. One listen and you will see exactly what I’m talking about.
The album starts out with “Gift of Pain” and doesn’t let up at all. The crew for this song is D. Randall Blythe, Alex Skolnick, David Ellefson, Mike Portnoy, and Gary Holt (Exodus/Slayer). You could easily hear this song on one of Lamb of Gods records. Randy sings his heart out (well actually screams) and the rest feed off of his energy and make one hell of an opening statement. “Let Darkness Fall” adds Troy Sanders (Mastadon), Mark Menghi and Rex Brown to the mix. Again, a phenomenal track but for the fans of the Alex Skolnick Trio this song features an incredible flamenco infused jazz clean solo that is absolutely amazing and shows that not all metal players are single sided. “Can’t Kill the Devil” brings back the vicious growl that is Philip H. Anselmo. He hasn’t sounded this good since his Pantera days. “Scars” is an incredible duet between Mark Osegueda and Christina Scabbia. His powerful almost Overkill sounding voice mixed with her haunting melody is amazing. No one could have picked a better duo to perform on this track.
“Destination Nowhere” Featuring Matthew K. Heafy (Trivium) is a great vehicle for Matt to show off his chops (both vocally and guitar). Solid rhythm section behind him and with Alex beside him gives him the chance to stretch and he rises to the occasion. “Wait Until Tomorrow” features Doug Pinnick and Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed). It has an otherworldly ambiance throughout the verses and chorus. The pre-chorus is heavy and unapologetic. “Triangulum” is a welcome addition to this album. This is an instrumental with three parts,(creation, evolution, and destruction) and some major guests. Misha Mansoor (Periphery), Ben Weinman (Dillinger Escape Plan), Charlie Benante (Anthrax), Phil Demmel (Machinehead), Matthew K. Heafy (Trivium), and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns and Roses) all guest on this track. This is the type of song that, with the right set of headphones, can take you on an amazing journey if you let it. It’s very well planned and excuted. The final song “Pledge of Allegance” is a straight forward old school metal anthem that really showcases the amazing vocals of Mark Osegueda and the musicianship of Gary Holt, Andreas Kisser (Sepultera) Charlie Benante and the core group. This is an absolutely perfect closer for this album.
All in all even though there are a ton of guest stars on this it really is a great album. Usually there are just one or two tracks that are good in between a bunch of filler but not here. Mark Menghi and company really thought this through and chose the perfect people to fit their vision. Fans of any and all generations of metal will find at least one thing that they like on Metal Allegiance’s debut. The easiest way to sum it up is that this is an all-encompassing, unforgiving, pulverizing ride through all that is and was metal.
Reviewed by Dave 1340